A Daily Thought from one of Russia's Favorite 19th c. Saints (Theophan)

"The Savior Himself in His earthly life had no place to lay His head (Matthew 8:20) and died on the Cross ─ so why should His followers have a better lot?"

Originally appeared at: Global Orthodox

Editor's Note: Saint Theophan the Recluse (1815-1894) was one of the most prolific and beloved spiritual writers of 19th-century Russia. His works comprise over twenty volumes. Although he lived the last twenty-eight years of his life as a hermit, his impact on his homeland was immense. His articles appeared in the popular spiritual journals of his time, his books were in great demand, and he personally replied to an average of thirty letters daily. We will be publishing excerpts from Thoughts for Each Day of the Year (Amazon). In it, St. Theophan takes us through the yearly cycle of Gospel and Epistle readings, humbly and reverently offering us brief but powerful daily meditations on the word of God. He also addresses the problems of his day: lack of faith, coldness of heart, trust in the rational mind rather than in the revealed Truth of God - which are problems of our day as well.

Monday, 18th Sunday after Pentecost
Epistle: Ephesians 4:25-32
Gospel: Luke 6:24-30

St. Theophan the Recluse: Progressive Ravings and the Theoretical Mindset |  A Russian Orthodox Church Website

On the Path through the Desert

Woe unto the rich, woe unto those who have enough to eat, who laugh, who enjoy praises from people; conversely, blessed are those who suffer from calumny, violence, robbery, and forced labor (Luke 6:20-26) ─ quite opposite to people’s common judgments and sentiments!

God’s plans are as far from men’s reasoning as the heavens are far from the earth. And it hardly could be otherwise. We are in exile; therefore, we ought to be content with offenses and insults; we are under penance which consists of needs and hardships; we are sick, and bitter medicine is good for us. The Savior Himself in His earthly life had no place to lay His head (Matthew 8:20) and died on the Cross ─ so why should His followers have a better lot?

The spirit of Christ is in being ready to suffer any loss and persevere through any hardship. Comfort, gratification, luxury, and opulence are alien to Him. His path leads through a harsh, bleak desert, a prototype of which we see in the Israelite people’s 40 years of wandering. Who, then, follows Him on this path? Those who can see through the desert to the land of Canaan, a land flowing with milk and honey. And while in the desert of this life, they also receive manna, not from the earth but from heaven, not materially but spiritually, and the glory of the Lord abides inside them.

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